Okonomiyaki (Cabbage Pizza)06.12.10

055I spent a few weeks in Japan when I was 15. I stayed in the suburbs of Osaka with a lovely host family, who introduced me to Okonomiyaki. In train stations and little restaurants all over the place, you can point to a bowl of ingredients displayed in a glass case, and then take your seat around a table with a frying surface embedded in the top. Servers bring your ingredients to the table and add an egg, and then you fry up your own and top it as you like with sauces and cheese.

While my host mom insisted that this was a form of pizza, the actual base of this treat is cabbage and other veggies, in a thin batter. There are some traditional Japanese ingredients that give real okonomiyaki a distinct flavor. For my family, I tend to just clean out the produce drawer, adding whatever leftover meats or cheeses we have on hand.

Around here, it’s called Garbage Pizza. And it is delish.

Here’s what we started with:
Okonomiyaki veggies
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Posted in Comfort Foods, Exotic, Main Course, Spring, Uncategorized, Vegetablewith 6 Comments →

Spinach Salad with Bacon, Red Onion and Egg03.22.10

Spinach SaladThe Salad Wars rage on here at headquarters and I’ve struck a blow for the side of leafy greens by wielding one of my favorite weapons:  bacon. As Buffi says: “Jenny, bacon is ALWAYS the answer.” One of the things The Boy has complained about with regards to salad is he doesn’t like the crunchy pieces. I don’t even get that, considering he’ll eat croutons until his palate is shredded. Being that this is the case (for now, bwahahaha) I figured a nice, tender, baby spinach would be a good starting point.

And then I remembered this salad that my mom and her girlfriends used to have when they’d gather to catch up on life while the kids ran around half-naked in the backyard. Granted the ladies never served theirs with boxed stuffing mix, but they also weren’t trying to appease The Boy.

Spinach Salad

I don’t know if this is the classic spinach salad or not, but it is always delicious and filling. I have seen a lot of recipes that include button mushrooms, but I’m not a fan. What I am a fan of is garnishing with mandarin orange segments. Mmmm. Here’s what we started with:
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Posted in Bacon, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish, Spring, Uncategorized, Vegetablewith 9 Comments →

Rainbow Chard03.16.10

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At the Farmer’s Market, we picked up some gorgeous rainbow chard. After shocking myself by loving the collard greens earlier this year (although admittedly, they were WAY WAY overcooked) I figured that chard would be equally yummy. The kids all oohed and aahed about the colorful stalks and we grabbed two bunches. Leafy greens – with bonus color – is a very exciting proposition. Since I wasn’t going to be cooking with them the same day, I put them in a vase of cold water in the fridge, and they stayed nice and perky. Plus, they were very pretty:

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Back at home, I did a quick search for chard recipes, uncovering a zillion versions of the olive oil, garlic, red pepper, lemon juice, saute method. I’m all for simple and easy, and this approach seemed to be The Way To Go, if you trust the internet for your recipe needs. (I totally trust the internet.)

Although, I will say that this recipe for a rather unconventional lasagne sounds super fab. Mushrooms, Rainbow Chard and Gruyere Lasagne? YES PLEASE. But for my first time out of the gate, I’m going to try to method that 90% of the internet seems to recommend.

Aaaand, here we go:
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Posted in Farmer's Market, Local Eats, Side Dish, Spring, Vegetable, Winterwith 5 Comments →

Steamed Artichokes02.24.10

004 Artichokes. They aren’t the most reasonable vegetable to approach a produce-averse child with, but I figured it was time. I love artichokes. And although the Chef and my husband will eat them as well, The Boy has never willingly eaten a plain, steamed artichoke before. (He’s had them in that spinach pie I made, and I’ve sneaked them into casseroles.) I figured this would be a one-biter before he ran screaming into the night.

To up the chances that he’d eat SOMETHING, I decided to pair the artichokes with chicken sausage and quinoa.  Here’s what we started with:

  • Quinoa, prepared according to package directions in my rice steamer, using chicken broth as the liquid.
    • One scrawny carrot
    • A couple cloves of garlic
    • 1/2 a small red onion
    • 1 package of spinach, fontina and roasted garlic chicken sausages (fully cooked)
    • grated Parmesan cheese

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Posted in Comfort Foods, Main Course, Savory, Side Dish, Vegetable, Winterwith 5 Comments →

Red bell peppers with tomato sauce02.20.10

We’ve had some startling successes with The Boy’s willingness to try new things over the last few weeks.  That said, willingness to try doesn’t always equate to willingness to eat.   For some reason, bell peppers are on his list of buh-sgusting foods.  Like carrots and onions, I am determined to wear him down on these, because I love to cook with them.

So, years and years ago, we had an exchange student from Spain stay with my family for a few weeks.  He had prepared a dish that consisted of slowly sauteed  red bell peppers in a savory tomato sauce.  I loved it, and wanted to try to replicate it.  Here’s what I started with:

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Posted in Savory, Side Dish, Uncategorized, Vegetable, Vegetarian, Winterwith 1 Comment →

Tortilla Soup02.15.10

074It appears that all we eat is soup around here. That’s not really the case, but it’s winter and I’m trying to get my kid to eat produce – and soup always sounds like a friendly-vegetable-delivery-system. With my flair for screwing up recipes, or blatantly not even trying to use a recipe, we’ve had some really weird soups over the last month and half. Part of me thought, hey, I should look up a great recipe for Tortilla Soup. But then, why break my streak?

We’re winging it over here – come along for the ride!
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Posted in Savory, Soup, Spicy, Uncategorized, Winterwith 1 Comment →

Chicken Pot Pie01.08.10

036The weather around here has been chilly and socked-in with fog, and I’ve been craving comfort foods like crazy. Everyone has their own favorites, but one of mine has always been chicken pot pie. While cruising around the internet looking for possible recipes, I came across a beauty of a pot pie recipe at Nicole Aloni’s inspirational blog A Conscious Feast.

Seriously, go marvel at it.

While I loved the list of ingredients she had put together, I wanted to use the veggies and seasonings we already had on hand. What really made an impression was the glorious photo that accompanied her recipe. Ooh, I thought. I have RAMEKINS. And The Boy loves him some puff pastry. Without further ado, here’s what we started with:

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Posted in Bacon, Comfort Foods, Fall, Main Course, Savory, Winterwith 1 Comment →

Caldo Verde…kinda01.07.10

091So, I was reading through my local newspaper, The Press Democrat, and came across an article on soups. Mmm. Soup. And in this article was a recipe from chef Manuel Azevedo, who owns a restaurant called La Salette over in Sonoma. I’d never heard of Caldo Verde, but it is apparently Portugal’s national dish, and it sounded gooooood.

I’m going to throw out a disclaimer right now – I’m apparently bad at following recipes, and what happened next was in no way a reflection on the recipe as published. In fact, I would like to go eat at La Salette to see what this soup is supposed to turn out like. But first, let me share our version:

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Posted in Main Course, Savory, Soup, Spicy, Uncategorized, Winterwith No Comments →

Carrot and snow pea stir fry01.04.10

not happy about this oneThe Boy is growing snow peas as part of his elementary school’s garden, and he’s very excited about harvesting and eating “his” peas. Since it will be a while before his peas are ready, I picked up some snow peas at the store, bent on trying to find a good preparation for them.

This self-same Boy has been flirting with the notion that carrots MIGHT be edible. He’s attempted to eat them in several ways already, with varying levels of success. He suggested to me that carrots and snow peas would make an excellent stir fry dish, and before he could wiggle out of it, I was chopping vegetables.

Meet the cast:

Stir Fry ingredients

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Posted in Savory, Side Dish, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetable, Vegetarian, Winterwith No Comments →

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